Velden Orders Its Fifth Nakamura Turning Centre
As part of its continued investment strategy, Velden Engineering (UK) Ltd has just ordered a Nakamura-Tome NTY3-150 twin spindle 3-turret turning centre from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG). With delivery planned for January 2022, the new addition to the plant list will complement the existing high-end Nakamura-Tome turning centres the company has purchased.
Based in Bolton, the foundations of the company were formed as a partnership in 1973 and when the company acquired another business in 1984, the name Velden Engineering (UK) Ltd was born. Velden rapidly reached 50 employees and over 100 by 1990, was the first UK job shop to achieve ISO: 9001 in 1987 and has since won a multitude of prestigious OEM contracts and awards along the way. The Lancashire subcontract manufacturer now offers a complete range of services from CNC machining, laser cutting, waterjet machining, sheet metalwork, assembly, product build, busbar production, design and development and much more. The company now serves clients in sectors as diverse as nuclear, offshore, rail, motorsport, aerospace, automotive, environmental, medical and pharmaceutical.
In 2012, the company acquired its first Nakamura-Tome turning centre, a compact WT100 twin-spindle twin turret machine. This formed part of a strategy the company was looking to push forward with regarding the replacement of older machines with modern multi-tasking machines to reduce the number of operations and improve efficiency.
Commenting upon this, Velden Engineering’s Lee Valentine, Plant Manager says: “Originally, Velden were looking to buy a different brand of machine but we were impressed upon seeing a Nakamura WT100 at an exhibition. When we learnt that the next generation of this machine was about to be launched with a new large screen windows-based control, the decision to purchase our first Nakamura, the WT100 was made on the back of it fitting perfectly with Velden’s Industry 4.0 aspirations. Velden became one of the first companies to take delivery of this next generation machine, which became an instant success. The machine is very reliable with higher overall equipment effectiveness that made it particularly impressive to all customers and visitors who saw it in action.”
In 2013, the company took delivery of a larger Nakamura-Tome WT150II twin spindle twin turret turning centre with an upper turret Y-axis after winning a new contract. This machine was selected over a second WT100 as it could cater for a wider range of parts and provide additional flexibility.
The performance, reliability and support from ETG meant that when Velden needed additional capacity to service increasing demand in 2017, it once again turned to ETG. Recalling this period, Velden Engineering’s Lee Valentine continues: “It was 4 years later that we wanted a second WT150II to service an increase in demand, but with no machines available in European stock we felt we might need to look at other machines. ETG stepped in and won the order for a second WT150II on the back of offering to loan us a different model of machine, the Nakamura AS200 which they had in stock to help us meet capacity demands while waiting for delivery of the WT150II. Whilst the AS200 was not as efficient as the WT150II for the majority of work we had, we found that on certain lower volume projects, the AS200 was very useful as it was quicker to set up and program. This gave the machine a place within our company setup. As such, when our second WT150II arrived, we did a deal with ETG to also purchase the AS200 that we had been loaned.”
This combination of machines has accelerated production and throughput for Velden and enabled the company to implement its Industry 4.0 ambitions whilst being extremely competitive. As part of its continual improvement strategy, the company has now decided to replace its oldest Nakamura, the first WT100 machine that arrived almost a decade ago. Alluding to this, Lee Valentine concludes: “We received an offer to sell our original WT100 and we felt it would be a good opportunity to replace our oldest Nakamura with a brand new WT150II. Firstly, the Nakamura machines retain a high residual value and the opportunity to have three of the exact same type of machine with the same programs and tooling would have created a uniformity on the shop floor.”
“However, many of the enquiries we are starting to receive are for parts in slightly higher volumes with increased complexity and also above the size that is suitable to do on our current range of sliding-head machines. As a 3-turret machine all with y-axis, the Nakamura NTY3-150 machine opens up a greater opportunity to do even more simultaneous machining and it will deliver even faster cycle times. This will be possible through the use of special tooling on what will be very price-sensitive parts. The additional cost of the Nakamura NTY3-150 will be offset by allowing us to be even more competitive on certain packages of work and it will therefore enable us to win a lot of new business on the back of it. We are looking forward to the machine landing in the new year.”